Laura Toggs, the daughter of Hillsong founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, has hit back after the recent media storm surrounding youth not social distancing at a youth summer camp.
The youth were seen on camera singing and dancing, while music festivals had been canceled in the same region as Omicron sweeps across the country.
The church has been told to shut down a youth summer camp in the New South Wales Hunter region after what was described as a “major breach of public health orders”.
Vision has emerged of hundreds of unmasked young people singing and dancing inside a large tent, while performers and DJ’s entertained the crowd. With media quick to report on the story, Toggs, who is also involved in the youth department, has since spoken out, frustrated at the ongoing media attention that the church receives.
Toggs posted a fifteen minute video to Instagram, with the caption “ill (sic) probably/maybe/definitely delete this later,” realizing that her frustration could go viral. In her video, she criticized the media for the camp exposure.
“The world’s idea of right and wrong has gone completely mad, it’s warped,” Toggs said. “We created a positive environment for fun, and for friendship. If you think about the last couple of years they’ve had to endure, the loneliness, the isolation. Is that really so terrible and newsworthy?
“To suggest that we are above the law and blatantly break the rules is unfair. It’s ludicrous.
“I personally was not aware that rules had changed around music festivals. There was very little phone reception and I wasn’t aware of that change.”
Her frustrations are rightly due to the ongoing media pressure her parents, as the faces of Hillsong face, including the fact that her father, Brian, is currently involved in a court case which has seen him have to step down from the Hillsong boards.
“I have watched the media willingly disregard any fairness for the sake of click-bait and to suit whatever profit they make off their agendas,” she continued. “It’s destroying peoples’ lives one cheap headline at a time and it’s heartbreaking to watch people believe the lies.
“To keep bowing down to the media is essentially to allow them to continue to own the narrative around the world, above the truth. It is the most unwise thing you can do for your mind and soul. Defending truth is biblical.
“If you want to fill your mind and soul with junk then go ahead and buy into whatever they spoon feed you. But if you want truth to frame your heart and soul and mind, let the Bible be your source of wisdom and truth and guidance.”
Hillsong was quick to release an apology for what transpired at the camp. The stated the camps were not festivals and the church had followed NSW Government guidelines, which were deemed as low-risk. The church said that the high school aged events included sporting activities and games. They were alcohol-free events, held outdoors, and the number of students attending each camp was just over 200.
The church said have implemented strict COVID safe procedures before and during each camp which included professional paramedics onsite 24 hours per day with testing capabilities.